Philadelphia Daily News - August 22, 1980
An Extra Special Win
By Bill Conlin
It was a 10-martini lunch which started during "Ryan's Hope" and ended during the 5:30 segment of Action News.
It included 17 runs, 38 hits 16 walks and a relief pitcher who batted four times after the ninth inning.
It featured a leftfielder who ran into a fence in the top of the first, ripped two doubles and a single, scored three runs, got several ovations and didn't play the final two-and-a-half hours.
But when the rest of the Phillies 9-8 victory over the Padres in 17 wonder ful innings-fades in the memory of 36,201 Vet witnesses, when they've forgotten Mike Schmidt's two homers, Dennis Kinney's heroic but ill-starred 9½-inning relief stint, Larry Bowa's inside-the-park homer, Ron Reed's nightmare ninth and Kevin Saucier 's five scoreless innings, they'll remember a red-faced third base coach, a shattered batting helmet and a triple up the gut in right-center which sent Schmidt home with the winning run.
THEY'LL REMEMBER the afternoon and evening when Bake McBride drove in the winning run twice.
Let's pick up the action in the bottom of the first, which seemed to take place a light-year before the bottom of the 17th. Lonnie Smith, down on the track nearly 10 minutes after a hustling attempt to catch a Gene Tenace triple, led off the inning with a double. Pete Rose flied to Dave Winfield in right. Smith didn’t tag up at second until Winfield had rainbowed a throw to shortstop Ozzie Smith. Ozzie threw the ball past third and Lonnie jogged home. The play set the tone.
Lee Elia proved he was in the flow of things after Schmidt crushed his 33d homer off starter Rick Wise. McBride inside-outed a line drive down the left-field line, It got past leftfielder Gene Richards and Bake was easing into third with a stand-up triple when third base coach Elia amazed everybody by waving him home. Bake kind of shrugged, shifted, gears and was less than halfway home when Tenace gloved O. Smith's relay throw and tagged the outfielder after a brief rundown.
"I really blew it," Elia said much later. "Bake took me off the hook in the 17th. When they tied it in the ninth I wanted to go hide someplace."
The way the Phillies were stinging the ball, you'd swear they were winning big. But every time you looked at the scoreboard the Padres had one or two more runs than they did.
THE PHILS WERE still down. 6-5, going into the bottom of the seventh. With one out, runners on first and third. McBride greeted lefthander Gary Lucas with a gapper to left-center. Smith scored, Schmidt scored and the Phils had a 7-6 lead. And they appeared to put the game away on Bob Boone's RBI double in the eighth.
The big eraser in the sky rubbed it temporarily out of the win column. Events were subtly conspiring against them. Tug McGraw and Ron Reed were heating in the bullpen in the top of the ninth. Dallas Green would have gone to the hot-rolling McGraw, but Tug mysteriously vanished and Reed came in to pitch the ninth. Word was sent to the press box that Tug came to the park with a touch of flu and was too weak to pitch.
It was not Reed's finest hour. He walked rookie third baseman Luis Salazar on four pitches, fell behind Dave Winfield, 2-0, then watched in disgruntled disbelief as the massive rightfielder's 2-1 rocket clattered off the Phillies logo in right-center. Eight was not enough.
The game rumbled into overtime. Kinney stranded single runners in the ninth and 10th and wriggled out of bases-loaded jams in the 12th and 13th and two-on, two-out trouble in the 14th. "I got away with an awful lot of bad pitches," the lefthander confessed. "We weren't going to use Rollie Fingers, so I knew it was my game to win or lose."
KINNEY WALKED on water in the 13th, when Rose led off the inning with his first hit of the afternoon, a double. Schmidt drew an intentional walk and Green sent McBride up to bunt. It requires deep faith in the bunt to take the bat out of the hands of a .315 hitter who rarely grounds into the double play, nobody out and two of the game's better baserunners out there. Nevertheless... Kinney's first pitch to McBride was high and tight. In fact, it hit him in the right shoulder before deflecting off his bat. When plate umpire Ed Vargo rang up a foul strike, Bake, a man whose still waters run deep, erupted like Mt. St. Helens.
He split his helmet bouncing it off the turf and Vargo rang up an automatic $100 fine. Bake came close to jostling Vargo and when he went to the dugout while Green pleaded the case it appeared McBride had been ejected.
"I just told him to go to the dugout and cool off," Dallas said. Bake's version differed.
"I just went down to get a new batting helmet " he said.
Whatever, he was a totally composed player when he came back to the plate – no jabbering at Vargo, no menacing looks. "I seldom get upset," he said. "When I do I'm able to control it so it doesn't mess my play up."
McBride got the bunt down and Coleman, who managed an excellent game, ordered an intentional walk to Manny Trillo. What the bunt accomplished was to take the bat out of the hands of .315 and .323 hitters. Garry Maddox fouled out and Bowa popped up Kinney's first pitch.
SCHMIDT LINED a single to left with one out in the 17th. McBride wasted no time. He boomed Kinney's first pitch high and deep to right-center to win the game and tie for the league lead with his 10th triple.
"This is probably my best season in the majors," said McBride, whose double was a career-high 25th. "My bat only weighs 32 ounces but by the end of the game it felt like it weighed a ton. I was going to dinner tonight, but that's off. We should have had it won in the ninth inning. But I can't complain; everything's going for me."
There was a suggestion that winning pitcher Saucier was becoming too much of a nibbler during a recent stretch of erratic pitching. The Mad Frenchman says the opposite was true.
"My fastball was sailing instead of sinking." he said. "I was trying to overthrow the thing instead of getting on top and just popping it out there and letting it go. Like in New York, the day we were beating them so badly. Guys watching TV saw me walk Taveras and they thought I was throwing him sliders. They was fastballs that was sailing. That's why I was mad in the dugout after the game. The ball wasn't doing what I wanted it to do. Me and Herm Starrette went down to the bullpen a couple of days ago and threw a little bit and we decided I had to get it out there and pop it."
It was a 10-martini lunch that lasted 5:07. If you are expecting something in the mail from an area business firm, chances are excellent it will arrive a day late.
Bake McBride's second triple didn't arrive a minute too soon.
Extra Innings: When Baseball Goes Bonkers
By Ray Didinger
The rush-hour traffic had come and gone, so had the dinner hour. The six o'clock news had signed off already, the street lights were flickering on and – yawn – the Phillies and the San Diego Padres still were playing baseball.
What started as a 12:35 p.m. matinee had dragged into the evening and, the way things looked most fans would catch the final score on their way to work this morning.
It was the 17th inning and the Veterans Stadium crowd was disappearing under a giant cobweb. They came for a Businessperson's Special but they had the feeling they were gonna wind up watching an Old Timer's Game.
Suddenly, here was Mike Schmidt, pounding around third base and heading for home, like a guy fleeing swarm of bees. His beard had grown three inches since the game began, his wife Donna had reported him missing an hour ago, and he was determined to get this ordeal over with.
SCHMIDT SKIDDED across the plate with the winning run and he sat there for a moment in the chilly twilight, the dust settling around him, his grateful teammates pounding him on the back.
He dragged himself to the dugout, where he asked directions to the clubhouse. It had been quite a while since he was there.
"A game drags on like this, you get a little punchy," Schmidt admitted after the Phillies' five-hour, 9-8 marathon was finally put to rest.
"You have to really work hard to stay (mentally) sharp. It would be easy to start thinking about how many innings you played and lose your concentration. You've gotta reach back and get it from somewhere.
"A game goes past 10 innings, strange things usually happen. It's like this pitcher the Padres were using (Dennis Kinney). He was like their rabbit's foot. He kept throwing the ball up there, we kept popping it up.
"It was like he had the Mojo (jinx) working on us. I'm sure that's why (Manager) Jerry Coleman stayed with him so long. How many innings did he pitch today, 10? He probably hasn't gone 10 innings (in a game) in his life."
Schmidt was right. Kinney's longest previous appearance this season was four innings. Prior to this year, his major-league career consisted of 45 appearances, all in relief, and 71 innings. Yesterday, he pitched 9⅓ innings and allowed only two runs, one of them Schmidt's game-winner.
"IT LOOKED like we were gonna win a couple times before that," Schmidt said. "We had the bases loaded with one out (in the 13th) but Garry (Maddox) and Larry (Bowa) both popped out. They weren't trying to do that, they wanted to get the game over with as much as everybody else."
The very next inning, Schmidt came up with runners on first and second and two out. He hit the ball hard but on a line to leftfielder Gene Richards.
"You let chances like that get away in extra innings, you worry," Schmidt said. "You go scoreless for eight innings (in overtime) the way we did today and still win... hey, that's not gonna happen every day.
"You get in that (extra innings) situation and the temptation is to go for the home run, try to get it over with one swing. (Dave) Winfield tried to do that the last time he struck out (in the 16th). I have to resist that urge and just take my natural stroke."
Schmidt took his natural stroke when he singled with one out in the 17th. He scored moments later when Bake McBride ripped Kinney's next pitch between the Padre outfielders for his third extra-base hit of the day. "When Bake hit the ball, I thought there was no way they were gonna catch it," Schmidt said. "I was almost to second (base) when I saw (centerfielder) Jerry Mumphrey closing ground on the ball. I had to hold up, just to make sure (it wasn’t caught).
"ONCE IT LANDED beyond them, I took off. I heard (third base coach) Lee Elia telling me I had to hurry (to the plate). I don’t know how close the play was. I just knew I was safe."
It marked the end of a long and productive day in a stellar season for Mike Schmidt. He homered in his first two times at-bat against ex-Phillie Rick Wise. The first shot bounced off the clock on the upper deck, the second cleared the center-field fence.
That tied him with the Yankees' Reggie Jackson for the major-league home run lead with 34. The three runs batted in gave him 90 for the season, putting him temporarily one ahead of Steve Garvey in the National League RBI race.
The second homer also brought Schmidt out of the dugout to acknowledge yet another Veterans Stadium standing ovation. "That was today, wasn't it?" Schmidt asked, trying to remember back that far.
After the game, Schmidt stood in the corner of the Phillies' clubhouse drying his hair and looking at the photograph of his daughter, Jessica. He probably wanted to make sure he would recognize her when he got home.
He had played 17 innings, scored four runs, picked up three hits and three walks, made several fine defensive plays. He had to feel worn-out, ready to collapse, right?
"I FEEL drained," Schmidt said, "but it's a good drained. I feel great, as a matter of fact We won the game, now I'll go home and spend the night with my family.
"We've got Lefty (Carlton) going for (win) No. 20 Friday (today). Well be one game (actually 1½) out of first after (the Pirates) lose tonight. I'm excited about the way things are going. Win a game like this, it's a healthy sign.
"This proves one thing – you can never give up in this game. A week ago, we were coming out of Pittsburgh after getting our rear ends kicked and everybody said we were out of the race. Here we are, knocking on the door.
"This team does not stay down," Schmidt said. "Hey, we lost a tough game last night. We were all disappointed. Today, the Padres came out and scored three in the first (inning). Lonnie (Smith) got hart crashing into the wall. You might start thinking, 'Uh oh.'
"But we came back, took the lead, then lost it, and still won. The five-game sweep in New York (against the Mets) got everybody charged up and we're still riding that high now."
Someone asked Schmidt if he saw the Vet message board when it flashed the National League RBI totals after his second home run. Did he see his name up there, above Garvey, Keith Hernandez and the rest?
"SURE, I SAW it," Schmidt said, although Garvey regained the lead last night. "I know what my numbers are. Especially my RBls. I think that's the most important stat in my book. That's how I help this team, by driving in runs.
"For a leadoff man, the big stats are runs scored and times on base. Same for a No. 2 hitter. For the No. 3 hitter, every category is important but, especially, RBls."
Schmidt has to be pleased with the numbers he's put together this year, leading the league in homers and RBI despite missing a dozen games with injuries and playing hurt in a dozen more.
But, to him, the biggest run he's accounted for all season was the one he lugged home last night, just as Walter Cronkite was clearing his throat in the CBS newsroom.
After five hours and seven minutes, after 17 runs, 38 hits and 9 pitchers, the Businessperson's Special – make that The Nightwatchman's Special – was finally over.
"What did I think when I scored?" Schmidt said. "I thought, 'Hey, it's time to go home."
Where Can Bull Fit in?
By Bill Conlin
Dallas Green put in a 17-inning day yesterday, gave a lot of time to the press after the 9-8 victory over San Diego, then went upstairs to confer with General Manager Paul Owens.
The question? When and how to restore Greg Luzinski to the active roster. Whom to option, release or disable to make room. That might be the easy part.
When the Bull comes back, who sits? It is hardly a casual decision, now that the Phillies have moved past Montreal into second place and trail the Pirates by a game and a half, with the race dead even in the loss column.
Lonnie Smith, hitting .360 and winning a legion of fervent fans with his base stealing, run scoring and the high-wire act he does in left field? Bake McBride, hitting .315 with 26 doubles, 10 league-leading triples and career-high 74 RBI?
BAKE HAS been tearing up lefties. He tripled home the winning run off Dennis Kinney yesterday and doubled home the apparent winning runs back in the seventh off lefthander Gary Lucas.
Smith has been tearing up everyone. It would take a brave manager to yank a kid headed for Rookie of the Year out of the lineup.
"It's a tough one," Green said. "It's quite obvious to everybody that since Lonnie's been in left we've been a pretty decent ballclub. He generates a lot of offense for us, creates a lot of excitement. But before we worry about the lineup, we've got to make room on the roster for Greg and somebody's gonna be hurt."
The Phils are carrying 11 pitchers, one more than they probably need at this stage of the season. If Green decides to subtract a pitcher it is more likely to be a disabled-list move than an option. There is at least one candidate.
The Bull can swing the bat, but he still is running with a noticeable limp. The likely scenario is that Green probably will start him against certain lefties McBride has trouble hitting, San Francisco's Bob Knepper Sunday, for instance. Smith would play right.
What if Luzinski goes on a tear? What happens then?
Green would be stuck with a very nice problem if that happens. If you can't keep 25 guys happy, it helps to be in first place.
PHILUPS: Bake McBride leads the club with 11 game-winning RBI... Mike Schmidt has 90 RBI – one less than NL leader Steve Garvey and is tied with Reggie Jackson for the major-league home run lead at 34... Padres shortstop Ozzie Smith didn't get the ball out of the infield during an 0-for-8... Dickie Noles came in after the Ron Reed disaster and threw three ground balls, then pitched a scoreless 10th, 11th and 12th... Steve Carlton goes for No. 20 tonight against Giants' Ed Whitson.
Mabel Korpa of Harrisburg won $10 and four tickets to a Phillies game on a single by pitcher Randy Lerch in the fourth inning of yesterday's Daily News Home Run Payoff.
Michael Caposella of Prospect Park, Richard Walker and Ed Sipos, both of Philadelphia, each won four tickets to a future game.
So far the Daily News has paid out $16,310. Today's entry coupon appears on Page 87.